Asia / My Epic Round the World Trip / Vietnam

The Best Way to Travel From Hue to Hoi An on the Hai Van Pass

Leaving behind Hue’s Imperial City, we were now heading to Hoi An on the Hai Van Pass. I had booked a transfer by road with Huracars, and we looked forward to travelling via the Hai Van Pass and stopping at the natural marvels of Lap An Lagoon, Lang Co Bay and the Marble Mountains on route to our destination.

Hue to Hoi An is a driving distance of 130km, via the Hai Van pass along the coastline and through the jungle-covered mountains.

It would take us around four hours to complete, including several convenience stops on the way. Remember that this is Asia and toilets will generally be a hole in the ground and you will need to provide your own toilet paper!

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Lap An Lagoon

Our first stop was at Lap An Lagoon which had the most mesmerising blue water set against the backdrop of the Bach Ma mountain range. An eerie mist covered the mountains, giving them an unusual blue tinge.

The traditional oyster fishing boats gently swayed on the water almost vying for our attention. There were a couple of cafes near the parking area, but we were more interested in taking photos of this beguiling spot and once we had captured our memories we were back in the car and on our way.

A fishing boat on the Lap An lagoon

Our second stop was to view the area of Lang Co Bay, a popular beach resort for Vietnamese locals. The island-like stretch of palm trees and sand offers a lagoon on one side and 10km of beachfront on the other. We couldn’t go to the beach as it was off our route plan; however, it looked nice from a distance.

Lang Co Bay as viewed from the Hai Van Pass

We finally came to the Hai Van pass situated halfway between Hue and Hoi An. The BBC programme Top Gear famously used the exhilarating 20 km of winding mountain road in an episode.

The road sits majestically at 500 metres above sea level, making it the highest pass in Vietnam. Our driver made several stops along the way for us to admire the views and take photographs. The lush jungle can be seen on one side while the ocean’s blue waters are on the other.

The Hai Van Pass
Hai Van Pass

The pass is very busy with mopeds, buses, coaches, and cars travelling to and from Hue and Da Nang. Be aware if you get out of the vehicle on the roadside for photographs that you keep very near to the barrier as vehicles whizz around the bends at high speeds.

view of the Hai Van Pass from the roadside

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Emperor Minh Mang’s Brick Gate

During your drive, you will stop at a historic gateway built in the 19th century. Emporer Minh Mang had the inscription ” the most grandiose gateway in the world” etched into the stone.

Bullet holes and empty war bunkers from the American-Vietnamese war are now the only things left of this once magnificent point. You will be able to get refreshments from the few stalls set up here and take a moment to reflect on the turbulent past that has played out in Vietnam.

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Marble Statues

At the bottom of the Hai Van Pass, we continued to the Marble Mountain enjoying more sights on the way. This area specialises in marble sculpting; however, most of the marble now comes from China, due to Vietnamese restrictions.

We were taken into a store but were not interested in buying anything. The saleswoman followed us around, but after a few minutes, we left, vowing to return when we became millionaires and needed to bedeck our new mansion with a life-sized marble animal or a reclining buddha!

A Vietnamese monastery in the distance. Can you spot the white buddha?

Landscape view of fields and a monastery near to the marble mountains

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The Marble Mountains

The Marble Mountains should be high on everyone’s list of must-see locations. You will be utterly delighted at what you will discover!

Exploring the Marble Mountains on route to Hoi An

Pagodas in the Marble Mountain

Pagodas in the marble Mountains

We had one last stop before arriving in Hoi An, to stretch our legs and have a look at Non-Nuoc beach, a long sandy expanse in the heart of Da Nang.

Non-Nuoc Beach

The beach at Non-Nuoc in Vietnam

In Da Nang, you will find international resorts, boutique hotels, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. It is also the location of Da Nang international airport. Arriving in Hoi An, we reflected on our trip and how it had been such good value for money.

Yellow building in Hoi An

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Who Did We Use for Our Transfer

We would recommend using Hura Cars for your transfer. Our driver was well presented and knowledgeable and gave us interesting information as we passed through each area.

You can get a train from Hue to Hoi An or hire a moped, but both sounded unappealing to me. I preferred the comfort of an air-conditioned car, over squeezing into a hot, cramped train compartment.

When we arrived in Hoi An, our driver helped us with our luggage and bid us farewell. Excellent service from start to finish.


Northern Vietnam

Central Vietnam

About Author

Angela Price

Angie is a full-time travel writer with over 30 years of travel experience. She has always had a passion for travel, and after a 3-month world trip with her 18-year-old son, she created her popular travel blog to share her adventures with a wider audience. When Angie is at home in the UK, she enjoys exploring the English countryside, visiting castles and gardens and planning her next big adventure. Her motto is "Live Life Wandering not Wondering".

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